New state bill aims to integrate Bay Area transit into one 'seamless' system | News | Mountain View Online |


New state bill aims to integrate Bay Area transit into one 'seamless' system

Assemblyman David Chiu proposes unified fares, transfers and maps for Bay Area's tangle of mass transit systems

A newly introduced piece of state legislation seeks to integrate the more than two dozen separate and independent Bay Area transit agencies into one "seamless" system.

Assembly Bill 2057 by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, seeks to eliminate the barriers to ridership created by things like the differences in fare structures between systems, the uncoordinated schedules that can make transferring from one system to another an unreliable exercise in frustration, and the confusing muddle of transit maps that don't allow passengers to easily plan their trips when using multiple systems.

"This is about a future vision for the Bay Area," Chiu said at a Feb. 4 news conference at San Francisco's Salesforce Transit Center.

Currently, 27 different transit agencies run buses, trains and ferries in the nine-county region and each has its own fares, schedules, smartphone apps, discounts and planning processes.

This has led to a situation where, despite the region's horrendous traffic congestion and abysmal commute times, transit ridership actually dropped by 5.2 percent between 2016 and 2018, according to information from Chiu's office.

Initially, Chiu's bill would establish a universal bus fare, establish uniform transfer and discount policies for all bus systems, create a single Bay Area transit map, standardize apps and develop real-time transit information delivery to passengers.

It would also seek to create a taskforce charged with integrating fares and schedules across all systems as well as coordinating spending and project development.

BART Board Director Rebecca Saltzman, who represents parts of the East Bay, said her agency and the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit bus system have been working to coordinate schedules and fares, among other things, but such integration needs a more comprehensive approach.

"We need regional leadership and regional funding because one or two transit agencies can't do this alone," Saltzman said.

She noted that the housing crisis has resulted in people moving farther from their jobs in the Bay Area's urban employment centers in order to find affordable homes, longer commutes have created a regional traffic

nightmare and more cars on the freeways means more severe climate impacts.

"This is the time for public transit to shine," Saltzman said.

The bill could get a hearing in the Assembly Transportation Committee this spring.

— Bay City News Service

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14 people like this
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2020 at 3:08 pm

I'm not sure why this article is posted here and not on Palo Alto online also.

However, all I will say is "About time"!!!!

20 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 4, 2020 at 3:28 pm

I look forward to a massively expensive debacle that costs taxpayers billions, creating worse traffic than ever, leads to massive disappearing of hundreds of millions in a cash grab. Let the new government nightmare begin without oversight or a chance to vote, just shoved down our throats: you pay for it and you’ll like it!

More taxes and less services coming as this project will be proposed at a price in the billions which will be 5% of what it will actually cost and then a time line that will be 5% of what it actually is. I’m sure first we will waste a few billion of even forming the committees and then a few more on 3rd party ‘assessments’ while nothing is actually being done but our taxes will get raised for it!

22 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 4, 2020 at 4:52 pm

Agree that this is about time. Poor connectivity between transit agencies and poor transfer policies seriously discourage the use of public transit. This is especially true for people living in cities near the edges of counties (like Menlo Park and Palo Alto) where county-based public transit is really awful.

10 people like this
Posted by Declare Bankruptcy
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 4, 2020 at 6:51 pm

The 27 local transit agencies in the greater Bay Area should declare bankruptcy and not pay pensions or meet other costly promises. The new bureauracy should be bankrolled by the giant corporations demanding the infrastructure. But they won't.

8 people like this
Posted by Lenny Siegel
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 4, 2020 at 8:58 pm

Centralization of transit decision-making could make things worse for Mountain View. San Jose's control over VTA has reduced transit service to Mountain View, with very little service to our centers of employment.

12 people like this
Posted by Juanita
a resident of another community
on Feb 5, 2020 at 12:06 am

Expecting the state to provide efficient transportation is child-like magical thinking. If you want to get around the bay area efficiently, get a car and plan your own schedules and routes.

5 people like this
Posted by BDBD
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 5, 2020 at 10:14 am

I'm all for greater coordination and better transit. I hope the posters above are wrong about this leading to worse service where I live. It seems like a comprehensive map/trip planner with aligned schedules is a good place to start, and maybe one day they'll all use the same Clipper Card (or similar). I was impressed when I visited Chicago that Apple Pay and Google Pay are seamless there, and you automatically get charged the cheapest price - converting to a weekly or monthly pass automatically without you even thinking about it.

7 people like this
Posted by Marlee
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2020 at 1:11 am

This is something that should've been done long time ago. And an agency that would know how to run the system - not the joke they call VTA.

4 people like this
Posted by about time
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 6, 2020 at 4:00 pm

Coordinated schedules are awesome. I was able to get from Stockholm, Sweden to Helsinki, Finland easily via a coordinated schedule. This was a bus, ferry, bus, ferry, bus combination across two different nations.

They had two different governments and currencies.

Coordinated schedules allows people to travel medium/ long distances to jobs WITHOUT requiring a car.

No reason to invent a downside. There isn't one

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